The historian and critic Tony Judt died this weekend from complications related to Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS). He was 62. From the obituary in the Times.
An impassioned left-wing Zionist as a teenager, he shed his faith in agrarian socialism and Marxism early on and became, as he put it, a “universalist social democrat” with a deep suspicion of left-wing ideologues, identity politics and the emerging role of the United States as the world’s sole superpower.
“Today I’m regarded outside New York University as a looney-tunes leftie self-hating Jewish communist; inside the university I’m regarded as a typical old-fashioned white male liberal elitist,” he told The Guardian of London in January 2010. “I like that. I’m on the edge of both, it makes me feel comfortable.”
There’s a wealth of links on the obit page to articles by and about Judt. I recommend “Israel without Cliches” (6/9/10). Also, here are excerpts from Judt’s most recent book, Ill Fares the Land at the NYRB and at the Times. Here’s all of Judt’s NYRB work (not sure how much is accessible without a subscription). Also check out “Bush’s Useful Idiots” from the LRB. And here’s an interview with Marc Tracy at Tablet, and another on Fresh Air about living with ALS.